August 4, 2015 Decatur: DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May, left, answers a reporters questions as Arthur Blank slips past following a Tuesday afternoon August 4, 2015 announcement that Atlanta United FC would locate their headquarters and practice facility in DeKalb Couny. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com
Photo: Ben Gray
Photo: Ben Gray

At Issue: Is proposed soccer complex a good deal for DeKalb County?

With no public comment on the deal, the DeKalb County Commission voted 4-3 vote this month to give Atlanta United FC a $12 million incentive package to build its $30-million training complex in the county.

The soccer club’s complex, proposed to be built on property south of Interstate 285 near the county jail and sanitation department, is expected to kickstart further development along the Memorial Drive corridor.

Initially, the complex will hold a 3,500-seat stadium, three practice fields, exercise facilities, locker rooms and offices for the club’s headquarters. A second phase may add an indoor practice facility and additional soccer fields.

DeKalb will give AUFC $2.33 million a year for three years to facilitate the complex’s construction. The county wants some office space in the headquarters for its parks and recreation department in exchange. The incentive package also includes $5 million to clear land for the developments.

Opponents say the deal is a government handout that will drain taxpayer money by letting Atlanta United use the facilities tax-free. Many are concerned this will do nothing to revitalize that section of the county that has few tax-generating properties.

Supporters counter that the land will be used for more than just the AUFC. It can support youth tournaments for soccer and other sports such as rugby and lacrosse and be a venue for concerts, graduations, etc.

What do you think? Is the proposed soccer complex a boon for DeKalb or a potential white elephant that will divert precious tax dollars from much-need infrastructure projects such as road and sewer repair?

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